VEGAS MYTHS BUSTED: The Strip Tried Interesting to Households and Failed

Posted on: February 17, 2023, 08:05h. 

Final up to date on: February 17, 2023, 11:20h.

In one of many Las Vegas Conference and Customer Authority’s humorous new TV commercials, a father informs his son that broccoli is “the one meals they’ve” in Vegas. “The whole lot is broccoli,” together with the ice cream, he tells the grimacing tyke, who elects to remain house as a substitute.

MGM Amusement Park
Within the ’90s, the MGM Grand in Vegas included a 33-acre amusement park out again. This was the Lightning Bolt curler coaster. (Picture: rcdbcom)

Within the ’90s, Las Vegas wished you to come back along with your children. Now, it needs you to depart them at house. That’s as a result of Vegas’ try at interesting to households failed miserably, main to an enormous lack of income. Proper?


In 1993, a brand new MGM Grand opened. (The previous one grew to become Bally’s, and now, Horseshoe.) The biggest single lodge on this planet with 6,852 rooms, MGM was the primary resort to prime $1 billion in building prices. It was additionally the primary new Vegas resort to immediately goal households since Circus Circus opened in 1968.

Along with a “Wizard of Oz” show that includes prominently contained in the on line casino, MGM constructed a $100M amusement park on 33 acres out again. Its rides included a curler coaster, log flume, rapids raft, and a simulated movie studio backlot boat tour.

By 1996, Dorothy and Toto have been gone, and by 2000, so was the amusement park. Disappointing attendance was responsible, because it often is. On the time, the Las Vegas Overview-Journal reasoned that MGM Grand Adventures “didn’t take into accounts {that a} third of its guests come from California, the place theme parks are ubiquitous and all the time racing to unveil the most recent in thrill rides.”

Right here’s the factor, although: almost all the different points of interest that debuted throughout Las Vegas’ supposed family-friendly failure survived and proceed to thrive. They embody the Circus Circus Adventuredome, New York-New York’s curler coaster, the Large Shot trip atop the Stratosphere, Mandalay Bay’s seaside and wave pool, and M&M’s World.

Circus Circus Adventuredome
Like MGM Grand Adventures, the Circus Circus Adventuredome opened throughout the ’90s as a theme park catering to the kids of holiday makers from California. It continues to carry out nicely. (Picture: Expedia)

Not So Magical

The one different main instance of a kid-friendly attraction to debut within the ’90s and shut within the aughts was Caesars Magical Empire, an virtually utterly forgotten “high-tech, elaborately themed, multi-chambered wonderland” geared at guests aged 12 and up. It opened in 1996 and closed in 2002. Although it was three hours lengthy and included dinner, it value a whopping (for again then) $125 to $200 per particular person. And albeit, critiques have been combined.

Regardless of these two closures, Vegas has added new kid-friendly points of interest yearly of the brand new millennium. The Stratosphere (now The Strat) debuted three rides (X-Scream, Madness, and SkyJump) that also maintain thrilling on its higher decks, although it eliminated its Excessive Curler roller-coaster in 2005. It was the world’s highest coaster but in addition one in every of its slowest.

Reveals focusing on children, which additionally debuted throughout the family-friendly push, are nonetheless round. At the moment’s embody Mac King’s comedy magic present on the Excalibur, Nathan Burton’s magic present on the Miracle Mile Retailers, and Popovich Comedy Pet Theater on the Miracle Mile Retailers.

Final 12 months, a 7K square-foot video arcade changed the previous sportsbook at Bally’s/Horseshoe. And the immersive, 200K square-foot Space 15 artwork expertise – that includes the Virtualis VR recreation room – opened in 2020 and is increasing to function Common’s first year-round horror expertise not related to a theme park.

Failure of Failure Proof

After the MGM Grand amusement park, probably the most steadily cited proof for the failure of Las Vegas to enchantment to households is the free pirate present as soon as staged 5 occasions an evening in entrance of MGM’s Treasure Island.

In 2003, MGM remodeled “The Battle for Buccaneer Bay” into “The Sirens of TI,” an MTV-inspired try and titillate Gen-Xers that new on line casino proprietor Phil Ruffin mercy-killed 10 years later.

The media made a giant deal when “The Battle for Buccaneer Bay” was sunk, noting that the final family-friendly Vegas vestige was going away. However what this closure actually signaled was the top of a special pattern. Steve Wynn declared warfare on resort themes together with his Mirage in 1989 and vanquished the pattern together with his Bellagio 9 years later.

The impulse to construct extra pyramids, Eiffel Towers and Venetian canals gave method to a want to seem extra luxurious than the following man.

Satirically, the on line casino house that beforehand served because the backstage space for each pirate exhibits is now rented by Victory Hills Exhibitions for its Marvel Avengers Station attraction, which opened in 2016.

A children present.

Success by the Numbers

The largest drawback with the family-friendly failure fable is that numbers don’t bear it out. Between 1993 and 1994, Vegas visitation grew from 23.5M to 27.2M. Discounting the current post-pandemic restoration, this stays the biggest single annual share uptick in tourism ever.

From 1992 to 1996, the proportion of households visiting Las Vegas rose from 7% to 12%, in accordance with the LVCVA. At the moment, that quantity is a whopping 21%.

So, the following time you see a industrial about Vegas’ broccoli ice cream, one other method to learn that’s that Vegas now appeals so strongly to households casinos now want extra adults consuming and swearing at their blackjack tables to even issues out.

Search for “Vegas Myths Busted” each Friday on On line Click on right here to learn beforehand busted Vegas myths. Bought a suggestion for a Vegas fable that wants busting? E mail corey@on line



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